LOADING...
2Jun

Thousands of academics in social sciences and humanities meet at UBC

by admin


Salamander is a workshop/participatory performance for disabled people and their allies led by Petra Kuppers. Kuppers is giving a Salamander workshop in the water at the Aquatic Centre at Congress 2019 of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of B.C.


PNG

Academics from across the country aren’t going to jump in a lake at the University of B.C. but they’re going to do the next best thing: they’re going to jump into the pool.

They’ll be doing that as part of what’s called a Salamander workshop at Congress 2019.

Petra Kuppers, a disability performance scholar, has led the water-based events since 2013 in public pools and other bodies of water around the world to challenge ableism and celebrate the full diversity of human experience and embodiment.

“In the water, interesting intimacies happen,” Kuppers said. “People get to see one another in very open and vulnerable way.”

Public pools can be fraught with anxiety for many people, she said. If they’re a transgender person, it can be over what change room to use. If someone is disabled or has a body that’s different or is missing a limb, it can be about the difficulty of negotiating stairs.

One of the exercises Kuppers uses to build community is what dancers call ‘fish swish.’ It involves one person gently pulling another person’s feet from side to side.

“It’s a beautiful release for the lower back and lovely care we can give each other,” she said by phone.

Kuppers said she first started doing Salamander in Berkeley, California with the performance artist Neil Marcus.

Salamander is being organized as part of the meeting of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research at Congress 2019, the 88th annual meeting of Canadian academics in humanities and social sciences.

The event is one of several open to the public at the congress. Salamander is from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, June 3 at the Aquatic Centre which is a fully accessible pool. To take part, members of the public have to register with the Congress and for the event at Eventbrite. There is no charge for Salamander.

About 450 members of the public have registered for a free pass for the Congress.

Kuppers said she loves doing Salamander in public because of the reaction it provokes. She said people often notice what’s going on in a workshop and wonder: Why are they having such a good time?

“It doesn’t look like straight exercising or therapy. It look like people doing magical stuff together,” she said.

“I love when people get drawn in and it often happens. They get incorporated into it.”

On Sunday, 9,910 academics and researchers were registered to attend the 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. About 5,000 academics from 73 scholarly associations are presenting papers at the congress which is the largest gathering of its kind in the country. The congress ends Friday.

Events open to the public include those in the Big Thinking Speaker Series which are in the Frederic Wood Theatre:

• David Suzuki and Ian Mauro, the co-director of the Prairie Climate Centre, will screen their latest film Beyond Climate which links climate change with the human activities that are creating heat waves, melting glaciers and burning forest. Tuesday, June 4, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

• Indigenous storytelling in theatre features a panel discussion with Sylvia Cloutier, Margo Kane, Lindsay Lachance and Corey Payette. They’ll talk about a variety of issues, including using personal experiences in their work, identity and cultural practices. Wednesday, June 5, 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

Stan Douglas, visual artist, will talk about what it means to recreate moments from history and recording them with a camera. Douglas, one of the country’s leading artists, explores the boundaries of narrative and photography in his work. Thursday, June 5, 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

[email protected]


Source link

2Jun

Man blasts airlines for ignoring his parents, left alone in wheelchairs for almost 12 hours | CBC News

by admin

The son of an elderly couple says he wants two major airlines to stop blaming each other and take responsibility for abandoning his parents in their wheelchairs for half-a-day, with no help to access food, water or a washroom.

Mohan Karki’s parents, who don’t speak English and require assistance to travel, were found almost 12 hours after being dropped off at a service counter at the Vancouver airport — just not by the airlines responsible for assisting them during their trip, WestJet and Cathay Pacific. 

“We were thinking they were somewhere in the corner of the airport … not knowing where to go,” said Karki. “My parents told me, ‘We never left this place’ … 12 hours they were there. They tried to communicate with some other people, passersby, and nobody responded to them. Maybe they couldn’t understand what they were saying.”

On Feb. 23, Narayan and Chhaya Karki, aged 66 and 69, were on the final leg of a trip from their home in Kathmandu, Nepal to visit their son and his family in Edmonton, with a stopover in Vancouver. 

Mohan Karki said Cathay Pacific told him it delivered his parents to the WestJet customer service counter at the airport, and WestJet was to transport the pair to the gate for their final flight to Edmonton. 

The Karkis sat just steps from the WestJet service counter at the Vancouver airport for almost 12 hours, until the RCMP found them. (Rosa Marchitelli/CBC)

When his parents failed to arrive, a worried Karki spent hours on the phone trying to track them down. They didn’t have a cellphone. “For about six or seven hours, I kept on calling both airlines, but they never found my parents,” he said. 

Karki then called the RCMP. It took officers 20 minutes to find the couple, located just steps from the service counter.

The couple had placards with Karki’s name and phone number, in case of an emergency. No one responded when they tried to get help by holding them up, he said.

According to an Ontario-based advocate for people with disabilities, services for those who need assistance travelling are “unreliable and inconsistent” because airlines are allowed to set their own rules — instead of being told to meet specific standards.

“It is appalling treatment … the regulator should make it clear that [airlines] can’t pass the buck to each other,” said David Lepofsky, chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance.

Left at the wrong gate for 8 hours

Thanh Phan shares that frustration; the same thing happened to his 76-year-old mother at the same airport.

In August, Niem Thi Le, who has trouble walking and doesn’t speak English, was left in a wheelchair for eight hours after being dropped off at the wrong departure gate by WestJet.

Le was on her way home to Hanoi, Vietnam after visiting family in Victoria. WestJet was supposed to connect her with China Southern Airlines for her next flight.

“My mom told me that the wheelchair attendant just left her there without talking to anyone.… I was shocked … this is a human being,” Phan said.

Niem Thi Le, 76, was on her way back to Vietnam after visiting her family in Victoria. She missed her flight after being left at the wrong gate at the Vancouver airport. (Submitted by Thanh Phan)

An employee with another airline eventually noticed Le sitting alone, found someone who could speak Vietnamese and brought the woman to the China Southern Airlines counter.

That airline contacted Phan and suggested he call WestJet to find out what happened. He did, asking if someone could help his mother until he could get there himself.

“I said, ‘Could you please help her give her some food and drinks.’… They said, no, they didn’t do anything wrong and that’s not their business,” Phan said.

He called China Southern Airlines back and it agreed to help, bringing Le a hamburger and a drink.

‘They did not think it’s a serious problem’

Phan complained to customer service and WestJet apologized, saying it would review its internal process. But he said the airline never got back to him to explain what happened.

WestJet also told him travellers who don’t speak English shouldn’t be travelling alone, he said, though they offered him a $100 travel voucher.

“It’s very frustrating because they blame passengers, and they did not think that is a serious problem.”

Phan said he was ‘shocked’ to receive a phone call from South China Airlines, telling him his mother had missed her flight and he needed to come pick her up. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

WestJet ‘reaching out to the families involved’

Both Phan and Karki are still demanding an explanation from the airlines involved in their respective cases. 

“We sincerely apologize for the stress and worry that these guests and their families experienced,” WestJet’s media relations manager Lauren Stewart wrote in an email to Go Public.

“The nature of these incidents is serious, and we are in touch with both airline partners involved to investigate and make enhancements to our processes to prevent this type of incident from happening again. We are also reaching out to the families involved.” 

Karki says Cathay Pacific told him it took his parents to the WestJet counter, but the couple never made it on their next flight. They spent almost 12 hours sitting in wheelchairs at the airport. (CBC)

The airline says it provides mobility assistance to more than 900 guests per day.

Cathay Pacific told Go Public it was sorry to hear what happened to the Karkis, adding it followed “standard operating procedure” when it delivered the couple to WestJet staff and exchanged wheelchairs.

“The proper turnover to WestJet was made by our staff. Additionally, we are in the process of reviewing this situation with WestJet and we will apply learnings from this experience to future transitions between our airlines,” wrote Julie Jarratt, the airline’s communications director.

‘I dread entering Canadian airspace’

Lepofsky, who is blind, said he’s had his own problems travelling. “I dread entering Canadian airspace if I’m travelling alone … not because the service is always bad, but because it’s not reliably and consistently good.”

Airlines have a duty to accommodate passengers with disabilities under Canada’s human rights laws, he said. But when that doesn’t happen, it’s tough to figure out where to turn for help.

David Lepofsky, chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance, says services for those with disabilities are ‘unreliable and inconsistent’ when it comes to air travel in Canada. (Gary Morton/CBC)

“There are multiple agencies involved,” Lepofsky said. “The Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Transportation Agency — and you could be kicked from one to the other, trying to figure out where you’re supposed to go.”

He added: “The Canadian Transportation Agency, where you’re often kicked to, does not, from the perspective of people with disabilities, have a good track record in this area.”

Proposed rules require airlines to take responsibility 

The CTA says it’s aware some of the standards are out of date and a binding set of rules is needed. Until now, accessible transportation has been governed by mostly voluntary codes of practice. 

The agency has proposed new accessible transportation regulations for airlines and all travel providers. The new rules would be legally binding and impose penalties up to $25,000 for non-compliance. And if another proposed law passes, the Accessible Canada Act, that fine could jump to a maximum of $250,000.

“They need to make sure that passengers don’t fall between the cracks,” said Scott Streiner, chair and CEO of the Canadian Transportation Agency.

CTA chair and CEO Scott Streiner says his agency has proposed legally binding regulation for accessible transportation. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC)

Under the CTA’s proposed rules, airlines would have to provide people who need assistance a place to wait, near personnel who can assist them and will “periodically inquire” about the person’s needs.

Airports would be responsible for providing assistance from curbside to check-in, while the airlines would be responsible from check-in to boarding. 

Streiner said the proposed recommendations would have helped in both cases. The agency plans to have the final regulations published before summer and hopes to have the majority of requirements in place in about a year.

“Persons who require wheelchair assistance, including older Canadians, absolutely are covered by these regulations,” Streiner said. “We want to make sure that there’s no confusion about who’s providing assistance and that people aren’t left without assistance.”

As for Karki, he said that the next time his parents visit, he won’t leave them in the hands of the airlines. Instead, he’ll try to match their itinerary with other Nepali-speaking travellers.

After hearing from Go Public, WestJet called Karki last week, promising an explanation once it looks into what went wrong.

Phan said WestJet has yet to follow up with him, adding that his mother is now afraid to travel and will no longer come visit. 

Submit your story ideas

Go Public is an investigative news segment on CBC-TV, radio and the web.

We tell your stories and hold the powers that be accountable.

We want to hear from people across the country with stories you want to make public.

Submit your story ideas at [email protected].

Follow @CBCGoPublic on Twitter

 

 




Source link

2Jun

Prince George struggles to find public washroom solution | CBC News

by admin

City council in Prince George is trying to find ways to increase accessibility to public washrooms in the downtown area.

There are few options available for people, and many businesses have chosen not to grant public access to their facilities because of fear of overdoses and safety concerns. 

City staff presented a report to council this week, which highlighted there are no perfect solutions and that other cities are also struggling with this issue. 

“This is a really tough topic, and I think if I were able to pull some themes it would be…that providing access to public washrooms for everybody that needs to access them, and ensuring that they are clean and safe, is challenging,” said Chris Bone, city manager of social planning.

“My research has shown that no community has figured out how to do this effectively and that some of the communities that were seen to be ahead of the curve are now faced with having to rethink initial solutions because we’re working in a very different world now.”

After a heated debate, council agreed to try one of city staff’s recommendations to provide additional funding to social service providers, such as Saint Vincent de Paul, which already grant public washroom access.

Many of these providers have restricted access to their washrooms in the past because they don’t have the resources to monitor them. The funding is intended to offset the cost of having an assigned washroom monitor during peak hours.

Other cities

One of the other options staff proposed, was giving businesses $500 to open their bathrooms. However, this was tried in Yellowknife, and most businesses weren’t willing to do it for that amount.

Another option considered was bringing in self-contained stalls — called a Portland Loo — which are difficult to vandalize.

The town of Smithers introduced them two years ago. However, staff received mixed reviews from other cities that had them because of concerns that opioid users would overdose inside.

Cost of opening washroom doors

The Prince George Public Library is one of the few places that offers public washrooms, but it’s come at a cost.

In the past, library staff have had to call paramedics because of overdoses, and the security budget has now increased from $55,000 in 2015, to more than $150,000 this year. 

Amy Dhanjal, communications coordinator for the library, said in a recent count, staff found that between 20 to 40 people were using the washroom per hour. 

“We looked at percentages and we saw that about 14 per cent of those people are just coming in to use the washroom and then they’re leaving the library,” she told Daybreak North’s Nicole Oud.

Everyone needs washrooms, says Dhanjal

However, despite challenges the library has faced from opening its washrooms to the public, Dhanjal believes it’s important for the city to be accessible. 

“I know often when people think about public washrooms and people are advocating for public washrooms, the conversation sometimes focuses on people who are experiencing homelessness,” she said.

“But, there are so many other people that need to use the washroom; people that have Crohn’s, people who are menstruating, people that are elderly sometimes need a bathroom right away.”

When you gotta go, you gotta go. But in downtown Prince George, it can be hard to find somewhere to do so. Nicole Oud reports. 8:31

Source link

Prince George struggles to find public washroom solution | CBC News

by admin

City council in Prince George is trying to find ways to increase accessibility to public washrooms in the downtown area.

There are few options available for people, and many businesses have chosen not to grant public access to their facilities because of fear of overdoses and safety concerns. 

City staff presented a report to council this week, which highlighted there are no perfect solutions and that other cities are also struggling with this issue. 

“This is a really tough topic, and I think if I were able to pull some themes it would be…that providing access to public washrooms for everybody that needs to access them, and ensuring that they are clean and safe, is challenging,” said Chris Bone, city manager of social planning.

“My research has shown that no community has figured out how to do this effectively and that some of the communities that were seen to be ahead of the curve are now faced with having to rethink initial solutions because we’re working in a very different world now.”

After a heated debate, council agreed to try one of city staff’s recommendations to provide additional funding to social service providers, such as Saint Vincent de Paul, which already grant public washroom access.

Many of these providers have restricted access to their washrooms in the past because they don’t have the resources to monitor them. The funding is intended to offset the cost of having an assigned washroom monitor during peak hours.

Other cities

One of the other options staff proposed, was giving businesses $500 to open their bathrooms. However, this was tried in Yellowknife, and most businesses weren’t willing to do it for that amount.

Another option considered was bringing in self-contained stalls — called a Portland Loo — which are difficult to vandalize.

The town of Smithers introduced them two years ago. However, staff received mixed reviews from other cities that had them because of concerns that opioid users would overdose inside.

Cost of opening washroom doors

The Prince George Public Library is one of the few places that offers public washrooms, but it’s come at a cost.

In the past, library staff have had to call paramedics because of overdoses, and the security budget has now increased from $55,000 in 2015, to more than $150,000 this year. 

Amy Dhanjal, communications coordinator for the library, said in a recent count, staff found that between 20 to 40 people were using the washroom per hour. 

“We looked at percentages and we saw that about 14 per cent of those people are just coming in to use the washroom and then they’re leaving the library,” she told Daybreak North’s Nicole Oud.

Everyone needs washrooms, says Dhanjal

However, despite challenges the library has faced from opening its washrooms to the public, Dhanjal believes it’s important for the city to be accessible. 

“I know often when people think about public washrooms and people are advocating for public washrooms, the conversation sometimes focuses on people who are experiencing homelessness,” she said.

“But, there are so many other people that need to use the washroom; people that have Crohn’s, people who are menstruating, people that are elderly sometimes need a bathroom right away.”

When you gotta go, you gotta go. But in downtown Prince George, it can be hard to find somewhere to do so. Nicole Oud reports. 8:31

Source link

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.